Bicycle accidents have been on the rise by 30% over the past five years, according to Public Health Reports. Technology, including the illegal act of texting and driving has attributed to this increase.
The bicycle has transformed from a simple mode of transportation to a symbol of freedom and social progress. Today, millions of Americans continue to ride as a great way to get around, enjoy some exercise, and many of us find it easy and convenient when commuting to work.
Unfortunately, good intentions can turn into tragedy when a bicycle collides with a motor vehicle. The Centers for Disease Control reported over 900 deaths of bicyclists and 494,000 emergency room trips for bicycle-related injuries in 2013. Given the speed most bikes can travel and the rider’s exposure, serious injuries are common, especially brain injuries. Serious head trauma can have lasting effects, particularly on relationships.
As personal injury attorneys, The Flood Law Firm is committed to helping Connecticut bicyclists and their families recover compensation when they’ve been harmed as a result of this type of accident.
Bicycle Accidents: Causes and Injuries
Numerous factors contribute to the possibility of being in a bicycle accident, including the time of day (or night, with night being the highest risk), road conditions, and the rider’s level of experience. Most bicycle accident deaths occur in urban and non-intersection areas.
Believe it or not, gender plays an important role in the risk of getting into a bicycle accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), males are much more likely to be injured or killed on bicycles than females. In fact, men are 7 times more likely to be killed and 4 times more likely to be injured in a bicycle collision than women.
The NHTSA found alcohol as a contributing factor in more than 34% of fatal bicycle accidents.
A child on a bicycle being hit by a car is an absolutely horrifying event for all involved. Still, it’s a small comfort to know that children are more likely to suffer from non-fatal injuries. Broken bones can mend much faster than a broken heart, but the hospital bills won’t be pleasant.
Motorists can cause bicycle accidents when they disregard traffic laws and safety rules intended to protect bicyclists. Common contributing causes to a majority of bicycle/motor vehicle accidents include:
- Turning in front of bicyclists.
- Failing to yield at stop signs, yield signs or when entering a roadway from a driveway.
- Opening car doors in the path of a bicyclist.
- Failing to allow three feet of distance when passing bicyclists.
- Recklessly passing and speeding near a cyclist
Any bicyclist that does not wear a helmet is risking the possibility of serious head injury. Please remember to wear a properly fitted helmet every time you or your child rides a bicycle.
Connecticut Bicycle Safety Laws
Under Connecticut law, people on bicycles are required to adhere to the same traffic safety laws as any other motor vehicle driver. Unfortunately, not all drivers are respectful of bicycles on the road.
In an effort to increase the safety of bicyclists in the state, the rider should perform a simple ABC (air, brakes, chain and cranks) check of their bike to ensure it is in good working condition before hitting the road. A failure in equipment can cause the rider to lose control and outside of the bike lane resulting in a collision.
Updates to Connecticut’s Drivers Manual were made to incorporate bicycle safety, including doubling the fine for failing to yield the right-of-way to a bicycle. It states:
- Do not honk at bicyclists unless there is good cause to warn the rider.
- If you will be making a right turn, assume the rider will be traveling through the intersection.
- When turning left at an intersection, yield to bicyclists just as you would motorists.
When You Should Consult a Bicycle Accident Attorney
Bicycle accidents can result in injuries that causes serious physical pain, but also hefty medical bills and time lost from work. If a bicycle accident has led to the loss of a loved one, having to manage your grief and investigate how the accident occurred can feel overwhelmingly stressful.
A bicycle accident case has time-sensitive factors. If there were eyewitnesses at the scene, it is important to initiate contact right away to record statements. A police report, medical reports and other documents relating to your accident are equally essential.
When you hire an attorney, your attorney will handle all the paperwork while you focus on your recovery. The Flood Law Firm is dedicated to providing legal help to people who have been victims of a bicycle accident. Even if you are unsure about proceeding with a lawsuit, we provide free case evaluations with no obligation. Contacting us allows you to learn about you rights and potential time limits, which will affect your case.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident in Connecticut, contact our attorneys today. Your case is important to us.